The value of peer support in promoting people’s health and well-being is recognised by the NHS within the 5-Year Forward View. The NHS’s Realising the Value programme identified the role of peer support in enabling people with long term conditions, such as HIV, in contributing to personal well-being and improved clinical outcomes, resulting in cost savings to health and social care.
In the field of HIV the BHIVA Standards of Care identify the value of engaging with peer support services and the NHS contracts for both adults and children’s clinical care identify the role of peer support in promoting self-management.
“I now see myself as someone who can support others”
In 2014 UN AIDS set the 90-90-90 targets, of 90% people living with HIV diagnosed, 90% on treatments and 905% having an undetectable viral load. However, we need a fourth target with 90% of people living with HIV experiencing good quality of life, and to achieve this we must provide the rights means of support.
Fundamentally peer support is valued by people living with HIV as essential in managing physical, emotional and social well-being by addressing isolation, challenging perceptions of stigma, developing support networks and helping navigate the complexities of living with HIV.